I will talk about how superior Mexico is to Belize in anything that has to do with food & drink.
As I said before, I lived in Belize for almost 2 years, and I have lived in Quintana Roo, for 4 years. I previously lived in Corozal and a ghetto income village Kich Pan Ha, Belize.
I get asked all the time about life in Belize, and which do I prefer the most, living in Mexico villages or Belize. At the cruise ship port I talk to a lot of people who get off the boat at Costa Maya Port after their ship was in Belize the day before or so.
As I have written in earlier posts, people from USA and Canada are attracted to the fact that English is spoken in Belize and that makes a lot of them inquire about retiring there. But there are a lot of other factors in deciding where to retire on the Caribbean, and in this post I will address one of the main factors,
Food And Drink In Belize.
First of all this is going to be an easy post because there is really no comparison, but I will continue.
There is a joke in Belize that says, “You have 2 choices in Belize for things to eat, rice and beans, or beans and rice”. Trust me that is very true. Now if you are rich and can afford to live in San Pedro, or one of the Cayes, you can eat pretty good in Belize. Belize has some nice places to eat on the islands, but it is quite expensive.
What Is Belize Food Like
Belize meals range with the cultures who make them. Barbecued chicken served with rice, beans and coleslaw is a standard Belize dish. Due to a influx of Chinese immigrants, Chinese food restaurants can be found in almost every Belize town. And obviously, due to its geographical situation, there is a strong Mexican / Yucatan influence as well. But for the best guide on Belize Food, see Belize Cuisine.
Other Belize Food
Stew chicken or fish: Chicken or fish rubbed in Red recado, or achiote paste, and slow-cooked in broth. Served over rice and beans.
Garnaches: Fried tortillas coated in refried beans, cheese, and cabbage and carrots doused in vinegar. (Comes from the Mexican word “garnachas“)
Boil ups (or “Bile ups”): A Creole dish containing boiled eggs, pig’s tail (yes, really), fish and ground plantains, sweet potatoes and/or cassava (yuca).
Tamales: Boiled pockets of corn dough, stuffed with meat or sweet corn and served in banana leaves.
Hudut or Hodut: A Garifuna dish made from fish cooked in coconut broth, served with mashed plantains.
Cows foot soup: (Pata de Vaca) A cow’s foot in broth. I have had this in Orange Walk, but slightly different.
Snacks & Sides in Belize
Ceviche: Chopped raw fish, shrimp, or conch mixed with onions, tomatoes and cilantro, and marinated in lime juice. Served with fresh tortilla chips.
Cassava bread: There are two kinds of Garifuna cassava bread. Ereba uses cassava juice in a pancake-like bread. Bammy is a fried bread made with grated cassava root and coconut milk.
Belizean rice and beans: Red pinto beans mixed with white rice and flavored with coconut milk.
Where to Eat In Belize And What You’ll Pay
Outside of pricey luxury resort restaurants, Belize food is cheaper than U.S. food, but still some of Central America’s most expensive. If you’re on a budget, you can frequent food stalls at public gathering placed like parks and bus stations, or dine at basic local eateries (most which only serve one or two menu items a day, like stew chicken and barbecued fish).
Expect to pay around $5 USD for a plate of chicken, rice and beans, and coleslaw from a roadside grill, on down to $1 USD for a single tamale.
As you can see for yourself there is not much of a wide range of choices for cuisine in Belize.
The Chinese (Taiwanese), have basically overrun most of the eating places throughout Belize on the mainland, and everywhere you go you will see a Chinese restaurant. All these places sell fried chicken, Chinese food, and hamburgers. And let me tell you from personal experience, the food does not taste that good.
The local stores in Belize, mostly Chinese, also do not have a wide choice of selections. The first thing I did when I got to Mexico was to go to a store and buy some ham and cheese, and make me a sandwich. In fact a lot of women I knew in Corozal would cross over the border to Chetumal to do their shopping, and would smuggle meats and other things you can’t buy in Belize back over across the border.
There is a very poor selection of meats, cheeses, and vegetables in Belize. You can go to the fresh market and buy fruits and vegetables, and sometimes some good fish and meat, but to do so you have to get there early.
My diet in Belize consisted mainly of a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, rice and beans, Ramen noodles, and some fruits. A local woman next door to me in Corozal, Yada, cooked some meals for me from time to time and that made life bearable.
When I finally left Corozal and went to Mexico, I weighed 175 pounds, which is thin for me. Also I must confess eating rice and beans all the time in Belize gives you a lot of flatulence and I could not believe the difference once I reached Mexico.
Now comparing Mexican cuisine to Belizean cuisine, trust me people, Mexico wins hands down. The food is Mexico is excellent and there is a wide range of choices. The food in Belize has practically no taste, unless a chef cooks it for you, if you are that lucky.
Food in Mexico
I eat very good in Mexico, and my average meal here runs 50 pesos. I also have bunch of choices compared to Belize. In Belize if you want a good meal or for instance a pizza, it would run you $10 USD. Every meal in Mahahual is not served with rice and beans like Belize, and you can get a good hamburger and fries also in Mahahual for around 50 pesos (2.75 USD).
In Mahahual there are a lot of different places to eat that are owned and operated by a lot of different people from different countries. From Italian, French, German, Canadian, and cuisine even from the USA ,you can make your choice in Mexico.
The stores here in Mexico have a much superior selection to anything in Belize. I was shocked when I first got to Mexico, and I saw all the choices of food I could eat here compared to Belize. My first week in Mexico all I did was eat things I could not eat in Belize. That includes drinking the b**r of my choice.
If you live in Quintana Roo, Mexico and want a McDonalds or a Burger King hamburger, you can go into Chetumal, they even have an Applebees in there. Also there is a Sam’s Club and Walmart in Chetumal, which they don’t have in Belize at all.
In summing up in my opinion the food in Mexico is superior to any Belizean food on a day to day basis, and also is a lot cheaper and more healthy. Also your choices at the store are better and wider in Mexico compared to Belize.
Editor’s Note: Mahahual is in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico, bordering Belize. There are are more than 500 villages in this area around Chetumal, Quintana Roo that will fit the bill for “Mahahual” living. But the writer’s observations apply almost universally to a move from Belize to southern Mexico. The language factor, English, is not really all it is held up to be. Mexico offers far wider range and more ec0nomical choices for retirees. There are many expats – and Belizeans, that have moved from Belize to Quintana Roo for a First World living experience. Your mileage may vary. Post excerpted from the Yucatan Times